According to the pilot, during the initial climb, he realized that the Sport Cruiser’s canopy was not latched properly and had opened.
He attempted to secure the canopy, but was unsuccessful.
He decided to terminate the flight and land, however his airspeed was too fast during the touchdown and the airplane landed hard at the airport in Sacramento, California.
The landing gear collapsed, and the airplane slid across the runway.
The pilot reported that when the airplane came to rest, he saw that a fuel line had ruptured, and he immediately exited the airplane.
The airplane caught fire and was extinguished by first responders.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage.
The pilot reported that this accident could have been prevented if he had checked the canopy after he latched it and noticed the latch didn’t catch.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to securely lock the canopy before takeoff.
NTSB Identification: GAA18CA077
This December 2017 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.